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By Salisu Na’inna Dambatta

Many Nigerians hold the notion and presume wrongfully that every money invested in various development projects by the three tiers of government came from one loan or the other.

The fact is that most of the money deployed to finance national development in this country was generated internally through the efforts of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

The rejuvenated FIRS is now turbocharged in its revenue drive to ensure that the country continues to finance the provision of transportation infrastructure, expansion in power generation, transmission and distribution and giving greater access to tertiary education to develop the necessary skilled manpower to support the economy and enhance our collective wellbeing.

One of the most visible evidence of the effectiveness and historic success in revenue generation by the FIRS is manifested in the fatness of the distributable money that became available to the three tiers of government in the country, especially within the last two years.

For it is on record that under the watch of FIRS Executive Chairman, Mr. Muhammad Nami and his team, the revenue declared at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting at least thrice hovered around N1 trillion or even surpassed that figure at various months in the year 2022 . It was a feat.

This story regarding that feat from a news outlet is simply nice: “The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) has shared a total sum of N902.053 billion in November 2022 as Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils.” The sum was a shade to a trillion Naira.

But a nicer story regarding shared money at FAAC in August 2022 runs thus: “The Federation Account Allocation Committee, has shared a total sum of N954.085 billion Federation Account Revenue to the Federal Government, States and Local Government Councils. Details of the revenue put gross statutory revenue at N1. 066 trillion for the month of July 2022.” The total was above a trillion Naira.

Yet another trillion Naira revenue shared at FAAC, courtesy of the FIRS, was reported in the media as quoted here: “The Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), at its Meeting shared a total sum of N990.189 billion to the three tiers of government, as Federation Allocation for the month of December 2022.”

Read the clincher in the N990.189 billion distributed story: “the Gross Statutory Revenue of N1,136.183 billion was received for the month of November 2022.” Again it was above a trillion Naira within 30 days.

Commentators on national issues, especially those focusing on the provision of essential facilities that improve the wellbeing of Nigerians had repeatedly insisted that there is a strong linkage between those facilities and the trillions of Naira raked in by the FIRS.

The direct role of the FIRS in enabling the three tiers of government to have the requisite financial muscles to fund national development has placed the institution in the heart of national development.

The ability of the FIRS to generate revenue above its target in the era of Muhammad Nami became boldly obvious when the Service collected N6.405 trillion in 2021, which was over a hundred percent of its collection target for the year.

It was the first time that the agency crossed the Six-trillion Naira mark. It was achieved in the face of an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The latest “FIRS 2022 Performance Update” report released by the Service indicates that the previous record of just over N6 trillion was dwarfed by the N10.1 trillion revenue it garned for Nigeria in the year 2022.

The direct role of the FIRS in enabling the three tiers of government to have the requisite financial muscles to fund national development is best illustrated by the over N10 trillion the revenue generation machine netted in for the federation in 2022.

The revenue Service said the amount was more than 96 per cent of its envisaged collection for the year. It is reportedly the highest tax collected by the FIRS since its establishment in 1947.

The good news from the FIRS, which made it possible for FAAC to have fat distributable amount of money for national development has shown that with a sincerity of purpose in public service as demonstrated by Nami and his team, Nigeria can sustain its trajectory to becoming one of the top 15 best countries on earth within a generation. Money generated by the FIRS will finance the process.

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The former Chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Ambrose Orjiako

The former Chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, Ambrose Orjiako, on Friday, denied any wrongdoing to the company, following various allegations levelled against him by the oil firm.

On Thursday, The PUNCN reported that Seplat filed a writ of summons before the Federal High Court in Abuja, suing the ex-chairman for damages amounting to N5bn.

The writ, with Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/386/2023, was filed before the court on March 21, 2023, and the court ordered the defendant to appear before it within 30 days.

 Seplat Energy Plc

In the suit, Seplat asked the court to declare the use of its official letterhead by Orjiako to make an offer in the sum of $300m, without recourse to the Board, a clear breach of the terms of their subsisting consulting agreement and a breach of the Companies and Allied Matter Act, 2020, among other issues.

But on Friday, Orjiako denied any wrongdoing in the letter he initiated to the Federal Government to facilitate the consummation of the lingering $1.3bn Mobil sales deal.

Orjiako said he acted within the scope of his mandate for the benefit of the company, stressing that the energy firm was already benefitting from the values created by the letter to the presidency.

He made the clarification in a statement by his legal adviser, Senator Ikechukwu Obiorah.

 Orjiako also said he had instructed his lawyers to take the necessary legal steps, including seeking appropriate damages from those behind what he described as a “mischief.”

The statement read in part, “The attention of Dr Ambrose Orjiako, the pioneer Chairman of Seplat Energy Plc, has been drawn to the various malicious  newspaper publications, the last being of the so called law suit filed by some persons claiming to be acting in  the interest of the  company.

“He had hitherto refrained from joining them in the unfortunate affray. It has, however, become necessary to let the public be aware of the mischief of these individuals who have masked their personal interest over that of the wellbeing of Seplat, a company that has earned a notable repute.

“Orjiako, the co-founder of Seplat, under the written authorisation of the Board of Directors of Seplat, had the mandate to manage certain specific stakeholders of the company in respect of  the transaction which necessitated the subject communication.”

He argued that the letter referenced in the publications was written following appropriate discussions and was strictly for and in the best interest of SEPLAT.

“Also, the authorisation in the said letter expressly identifies Orjiako as the pioneer chairman,” the statement added.

It said the public should therefore not lay any credence on to law suit and the sensational publications the suit was filed to achieve.

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Central Bank of Nigeria has directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays, as part of a coordinated effort to ease circulation of banknotes of various denominations.

The apex bank also confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.

This latest development was disclosed in a statement signed by CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isa AbdulMumin, in Abuja, on Friday afternoon.

The statement noted that, a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by commercial banks, for onward circulation to their respective customers, even as it prevailed on banks, to conduct physical operations in banking halls through the weekends.

Excerpts of the statement read: “The CBN has directed all banks to load their Automated Teller Machines, as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.

“Branches of commercial banks will operate on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to customers’ cash needs.

“The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country,” it stressed.

The bank, therefore, urged Nigerians to be patient, as the current situation would ease soon, with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.

The PUNCH reports that authorities have stepped up efforts to end the biting currency scarcity that has inflicted pain on millions of bank customers nationwide, after a Supreme Court ruling, and a proposed protest by Nigeria Labour Congress, scheduled for next week.

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GAC Motor is set to take over the new vehicle assembly responsibility from its licensed importer in Nigeria, Choice International Group (CIG Motors) with the opening of a new G-Style Showroom in Abuja recently.

According to a statement by the company, CIG facilitated a joint venture between the Governor of Lagos State for the use of 1000 GAC Motors (GS3 SUV & GA4) to create an iconic urban public travel project known as LAGRIDE. “This project has changed the overall appearance of the public transportation system in Lagos State, it has also created more local jobs which has provided Nigerian youths with more dignified and rewarding ways of earning a living, including local third-party service suppliers.

GAC Motors
GAC Motors

“Nigeria is an important market for our Africa expansion plans, especially in West Africa, where we have identified opportunities of developing a collaborative automotive industry hub amongst the countries in the region. The hub concept will ensure that each country with an automotive development policy or economic interest in the automotive industry has an important role to play in the supply value chain. We have also recorded the following milestones; Installation and operation of a state-of-the-art automobile assembly facility in Nigeria;  Installation and operation of an integrated industrial and domestic home appliances manufacturing facility in Nigeria; Facilitated the successful operation of the first World Class Private Taxi Project “LAGRIDE” a Joint Venture Partnership with the Lagos State Government.” 

According to Diana Chen, “GAC is fully committed to supporting creative artistry culture and its industrial transformation agenda despite the current economic challenges facing the country. We are here for the long haul. Our company believes in long term investments which are nurtured through mutual relationships with like-minded partners. Nigeria’s commitment to the development of its automotive industry is evident in the GADP, which is still the blueprint automotive policy in the region in terms of creating an enabling environment for the establishment of an automotive industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Following the debut of the first-ever GAC G-Style showroom in Lagos, Nigeria, the launch of the second G-Style showroom in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja represents yet another significant turning point in the development and extension of the GAC network across Nigeria.

GAC has a presence in 17 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa where it sells passenger and commercial vehicles through licensed importers.

“As the frontier for the Fortune Global 500 Company of the automotive industry, Africa has become very important for the sustainability of GAC Motors. We are therefore accelerating our growth strategy on the continent by playing a pioneering and leading role in the development of the automotive industry.”

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